Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu has proposed a fine of five hundred thousand naira or three years imprisonment or both for persons convicted of vote buying and selling.
Professor Yakubu said that the adoption of the measure would in a greater way curb the menace. The INEC boss, who spoke today, Wednesday, at the 9th Forum of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, organized by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in Abuja, decried the embarrassment the commission has had to face from international community.
Represented at the event by the INEC National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, Professor Yakubu called on the National Assembly to evolve new legislations to curb the ugly trend.
The chairman also appealed to the parliament to expedite action on the Electoral Offences Commission Bill, underscoring the need for a separate agency to be given the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting electoral offences and offenders.
“The National Assembly should isolate vote buying and selling and properly define it, its varieties and ingredients and make it a separate item in the Electoral Act and provide sanction for violation.
“The punishment for vote buying should be increased and made stiffer to act as deterrent to buyers and sellers. Those that commit the offence of buying and selling should be made to pay a fine of N500,000 or be subjected to three years imprisonment or both.
“Restriction on the use of smart phones in the polling units should be imputed into the Electoral Act and violators should be liable on conviction to find of N500,000 or three years imprisonment or both.”